Tourism OIC Zeny Pallugna leaving post, cites double-digit growth in U.S. market

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Soaking in the Times Square nightlife

Soaking in the Times Square nightlife

By Cristina DC Pastor

After three years, Officer in Charge Zeny Pallugna of the Philippine Department of Tourism’s (PDOT)
New York office will be returning to Manila.

Zeny ends her tour of duty on August 21. She is expected in Manila by September 11, leaving her a couple of weeks to say goodbye to relatives and friends in the U.S. Zeny has more than 20 years’ experience promoting the Philippine government’s tourism program.

“Allow me to thank you all for having had the privilege of working with and learning from the industry’s best, which has made my stay a truly fun and rewarding experience,” writes Zeny in an August 7 email sent to colleagues, friends. and community partners. “I am grateful of your support, which has made it possible for heightened awareness of the Philippines in the North American market to grow.”

Since she assumed her position, initially, as Senior Tourism Officer (concurrent with being OIC) in 2015, Zeny reports that American arrivals in the Philippines doubled its growth rate to 7.47 percent compared to the previous year.

“For the first time, the American market has reached a growth rate of more than 14 percent in 2016 and remained as the second biggest source market of the Philippines with almost 800,000 visitor arrivals,” she states in her letter.

Zeny’s area of coverage includes the U.S. East Coast and Midwest, and Eastern Canada.

“I’ve been in the industry for more than two decades,” she told The FilAm. “At the end of my stint here, I could still say, NYC is my city.”

Succeeding Zeny will be Tourism Attaché of PDOT in San Francisco, Purificacion Monlintas, who will be OIC in a holdover capacity until Susan del Mundo formally assumes the post within a year.

Writes Zeny, “As I move forward with my new assignment at the PDOT Head Office in Manila, I hope you can extend your support and cooperation to the PDOT NY Team to be headed by my colleagues.”

At Little Italy in Lower Manhattan

At Little Italy in Lower Manhattan

Zeny will be reporting to Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo Teo. Her official title is still to be determined.

In an interview with The FilAm, Zeny said she loves her job as it allows her to travel to different destinations and meet all sorts of people.

“Travel is inspirational, educational and it gives you a broader perspective in life,” she said.

She has learned so much from visiting other countries, she said further. “It motivates me to think outside of the box and (think of) strategies to promote the Philippines.”

“My memorable experiences in NYC? I feel at home in the city – the people, food, freedom, shopping, and way of life,” she said. “I gained so many friends, met the “who’s who” in the industry, and penetrated and understood the North American market.”

Before New York, Zeny headed the Dive Market Development Group at the Philippine Department of Tourism and was a member of PDOT’s Cruise Tourism Development Group.

She graduated from the Ateneo de Cagayan-Xavier University with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Development Communication. She also holds a degree in Master of Science in Tourism Management from the Philippine Women’s University. She pursued further studies, earning a certificate in Destination Marketing from Temasek University in Singapore, a certificate in the Practical Project Management in the Global Market from Asian Institute of Management in Makati City, as well as a certificate in Strategic Marketing from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

She started her career with PDOT in the1990s as a marketing officer. She organized four international sporting events — the Siargao International Surfing Cup, the Siargao International Game Fishing Tournament, Anilao Underwater Photo Shootout, and Diving Resort Travel-Philippines Show.

She considers marine sports tourism, which includes scuba diving and surfing, “one of the greatest passions in my life.”

© 2017 The FilAm

Zeny, standing at far left, was part of the recent Ambassador’s Tour that called on President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao. Also in the group was Consul General Tess Dizon-De Vega, who is seated at far left.

Zeny, standing at far left, was part of the recent Ambassador’s Tour that called on President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao. Also in the group was Consul General Tess Dizon-De Vega, who is seated at far left.

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